Metrolinx has released a list of possible “investment tools”, including new taxes, tolls and parking levies, that could help finance the building of a $50-billion regional transportation network spanning from Hamilton to Durham Region.

Metrolinx President and CEO Bruce McCuaig told reporters Tuesday that after consulting residents through a series of meetings, Metrolinx has identified 11 investment tools that could help fund the proposed transportation network.

They include:

  • Development Charges
  • Employer Payroll Tax
  • Fuel Tax
  • High Occupancy Tolls (HOT)
  • Highway Tolls
  • Land Value Capture
  • Parking Space Levy, including pay-for-parking at transit stations
  • Property Tax
  • Sales Tax
  • Transit Fare Increase
  • Vehicle Kilometres Travelled (VKT) Fee

Dubbed “The Big Move,” the 25-year plan includes an extension of the Yonge subway into York Region, new rapid transit in Mississauga, Brampton and Hamilton, a downtown Toronto relief subway line and changes to the GO Transit rail network.

The plan also includes improvements to roads, highways and green transportation options, such as walking and cycling.

“We heard that there’s a willingness to consider how best to pay for this infrastructure. People realize, generally speaking, that there’s a need to be making investments in transit and transportation infrastructure,” McCuaig said.

The public also identified specific factors that they’d like considered before any of the revenue-generating tools are implemented, he added. Those include: ease of implementation; that everyone who benefits also contributes; and the desire to have clearly defined results and outcome measures.

The public also wanted more reporting from Metrolinx, municipalities and transit agencies on progress and outcomes, as well as greater transparency.

For the next 60 days, Metrolinx will continue to accept input from the public on the proposed investment tools before issuing a final report to its board of directors on May 27.

The final investment strategy will be presented to the province and affected municipalities by June 1.

McCuaig stressed that the submitted strategy is only advising the province and municipalities, who will ultimately make the final decision.

“To be clear, what we’re providing is advice,” he said. “In the end we’re not the final decision makers.”

Past discussion about transit expansion has revolved around road tolls and dedicated taxes.

The Toronto Region Board of Trade has weighed in on the subject, saying that a regional sales tax and a regional fuel tax could generate from $1 to $1.6 billion annually. A levy on parking spaces and road tolls could generate between $640 and $840 million.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne recently said she’s not afraid of discussing road tolls, taxes or parking levies, stating that the province needed new dedicated revenue streams to improve infrastructure.

"To be clear, we're going to need new revenue streams if we're going to be able to build the transit that's needed for this region," she said.

Metrolinx will need to generate around $2 billion in additional revenue in order to finance "The Big Move.”

With files from